Copenhagen is a city of the future; a true Scandinavian beauty embodying the perfect blend of the modern and traditional styles of architecture, fashion and food. It is unique tourist destination, as it an old city filled a vibrant past and a strong culture, home to some of the world’s top restaurants.
I must first tell you about how I got myself to this unforgettable city. It was a hot summer’s day in the spas of Budapest (of course, where else does one spend their average summer’s day?), where my sister and I met these four lovely Danish guys, whom I would like to say have turned out to be pretty awesome friends. Being the bold faced adventurer I am, I decided to invite myself to Copenhagen and luckily enough, I got the chance to stay with one of my new friends!
Who to remember?
Before I get into all the adventures and sights that Copenhagen has to offer, here is a little background information on some of the key icons you ought to know. At least the ones I wished I had known before I ventured off onto my tour totally dumbfounded.
The Little Mermaid – based on the fairy tale, we all grew up reading or watching, by Hans Christian Andersen; whom is also known for Thumbelina, The princess and the Pea and the Ugly Duckling. This iconic statue was commissioned by the son of Carlsberg and is a must see along the scenic harbour of the city.
Maersk – Headquartered in Copenhagen, Maersk is the world’s largest shipping company in the world; no wonder, as Copenhagen was known as one of the world’s largest shipping hubs. The main office is near to the Little Mermaid statue so you cannot miss it. Even check out the replicas of the large ships that the company is known for around the large HQ building.
Tivoli – the hotels, the restaurants and the amazingly large garden / theme park right smack in the centre of the city. This big name is one not to forget. I visited the Skybar which I loved very much and its awesome ‘Sticks n Sushi’ restaurant attached on the top floor of the Tivoli hotel. The Tivoli gardens were my favorite and I was lucky enough to visit during the Halloween season. My oh my, this place was decked out for Halloween with thousands of pumpkins, lights, scary figures and creepy décor – you could not help but know what time of year it was! I’m not much of a Halloween lover so I skipped out on some of the…well…more like 99% of the scary rides except for one, the Haunted House, which I was “reluctantly forced into” by my host.
What to do?
Having an amazing local tour guide made the trip ought to be way more than I could have asked for. So without a local to take you around, I recommend visiting the following sites: Nyhavn, the little mermaid statue, Christiansborg palace, Stock exchange, Amalienborg palace, Tivoli gardens and Christianshavn. For more information on the key sites check out http://www.copenhagen.com/attractions.
An even better way to see the whole city along the shoreline without tiring out your feet is via boat. It’s the perfect thing for a girl who had just bought a new pair of leather boots that hadn’t quite been broken in. I relaxed my feet on one of Copenhagen’s Sightseeing Boat Tours; where we took the boat from the infamous Nyhavn harbour, sailed through the intricate canals, under the bridges and out onto the open water to see the magnificent Opera House, the Little Mermaid and infamous Black Diamond museum.
Legoland – Denmark – “the land of Lego”. If you or your loved ones are interested in the story of lego or if you just want to add one more piece to your “small” collection at home, check out any of the lego stores across the city or if you are a true lover of the art, there is legoland a couple hours outside the city. I promised my host that I wanted to just take a quick look through one of the lego stores on the main shopping street, ten minutes later, I was contemplating using my last Danish Krone for a life size lego lion. Good thing I had no more space in my suitcase!
Christianshavn – I am quite happy my lovely tour guide decided to leave this area to the end of my trip. After exploring all the amazing sites, yummy restaurants and experiencing the sophisticated Danish way of life, I was taken to an area known as Christiania. It is located in the quaint district of Christianshavn; a quiet and suburban looking neighborhood but little did I know that once you walked through the gates of Christiania, you felt like you were in a whole other city. It was developed in the liberal time of the 70s, where squatters moved into an abandoned army barracks and built their future home; more like a couple hundred acres of tax free land to do as they please. Word on the street, “Pusher Street” to be precise, is that the main source of income is the green substances that are sold to any and everyone who dares enters Christiana’s doors. Besides the moms strolling their babies down the street while lighting up and the lack of tax anyone here has to pay, the most surprising fact is that I was told that no one is allowed to take photos on the grounds! so unfortunately I have no photos for all you who may be interested in viewing the sights beforehand… you just got to check it out for yourself.
If time permits or if you have made some Danish friends at one of the local pubs by the end of your trip, try and get a drive up the coast to Kronborg castle . It is known as the birthplace of Hamlet’s renowned story and is right next to the border of Sweden. Jammed pack in an old school Danish car with blasting music from the rap and pop of the 90’s; I had quite the time cruising down the coast which was lined with some of the sweetest and beautifully designed houses I have lied my eyes on.
When to go?
I had visited in the month of October, a month of on average 12 degrees each day! (Copenhagen weather) This is not exactly my ideal temperature coming from the Caribbean, but I must admit it is a beautiful time of the year to see the changing of the leaves and enabled me to finally put together an outfit that included fashionable leather boots and stylish silk scarves. I would visit again either during the Christmas season to catch a glimpse of the white snow covering the city or during the summer so I can go exploring the city a bit more without worrying about freezing my bum off every few minutes. The Danish are quite closely aligned with the US in celebrating its “traditional holidays” like Halloween and Valentine’s Day so either of these times are also perfect for visiting the extravagantly decorated Copenhagen Tivoli gardens.
Where to eat?
This city is home to 16 Michelin Star restaurants; the highest number of Michelin Star restaurants in one city in the world. Now that says something! My recommendations are as follows:
Chicos Cantina! – this yummy and homely mexican restaurant adds some spice to the city and is of course run by my lovely Danish host.
Noma – The world’s best eatery is currently located in Copenhagen. I didn’t get a chance to visit but it is on my to do list!
Stick n sushi – sky bar (as mentioned above)
A must do, which I luckily got to taste was the world’s best risotto at Che Fe by Alessandro Jacoponi.
I also got to try out a traditional Danish restaurant, where I got my traditional Danish christmas dinner.
Danish people are by far the friendliest lot I have met to date. You cannot walk into a store or restaurant or sit next to a Danish person on a bus and not expect to either receive a smile, nod of your existence or even find yourself caught up in delightful conversation. The ambiance of the city is more than enough to entice one to visit. If you love great food – why not! Divulge your taste buds in some of the most mouthwatering food on the planet; of course I shall be doing this when I return with a bigger bank account!
Thank you again to my amazing Hosts!!! Will visit soon again!
- How to get to and around Copenhagen: (See more info on copenhagen public transport here). Note: Copenhagen public transportation system is based on trust. Please buy tickets beforehand at stations or beware of the heavy fines.
- Exchange some cash beforehand as the Danes use the Danish Krone and not the Euro despite being apart of the EU (see exchange rates here)
- Bring an umbrella; silly me forgot this key item to survival in the Danish weather